By Rev. Sally G. Willis-Watkins
Advent is a time of anticipation and preparation. It is a season when we are reminded again of the unexpected places we find God and hear God.
No one expected an otherwise unexceptional unmarried young girl that she would give birth to the King of Glory. No one would have looked for the Messiah in a feeding trough in a backwoods town, or that the message would come first to lowly shepherds rather than religious leaders or people of prestige.
Scripture is full of other such stories, but Advent is so full of them that we are reminded again, if we listen.
In my work visiting various churches and church members in PSWR and CCNCN (I am making plans to visit our other partner regions soon) I have often seen evidence of God’s presence in places we are told not to expect it. I have heard dismal stories of churches failing because their pews are not as full as they once were.
However, In many of those same churches living the Gospel life is strong. I have seen churches whose worship attendance can be 15-25 that offer free meals to the community once a month. Some have food pantries or clothes closets for those in need. Others make mission giving a budget priority or have fundraisers for which all the proceeds go to help the homeless, and none to pay the electric bill. An administrator of a homeless shelter told one of our congregations, “You are small but mighty!”
In similar ways, some of our DSF students have stories of having been told that they could not be ministers because they were “unsuitable” in some very unbiblical sense. Some had thought themselves that they could never serve Jesus Christ through ordained or commissioned ministry. God, however, continues to be found in unexpected places and unexpected people.
In this Advent season, may we look for and celebrate the many ways the Word made Flesh is found where he is unexpected and seek to be agents of showing the world that he is God with us, wherever we are.